>Rowheel, A Wheelchair You Row | Gadget Lab

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The problem with wheelchairs is that they’re just not that good for you. Continually shoving the wheel-rims forwards does the kind of damage to your wrist, arms and shoulders that makes even the worst desk-induced RSI look like a mild ache. Floridian Salim Nasser has solved this problem with a wheelchair you can row: The Rowheel.

According to Nasser, pushing the wheels of a chair can cause “muscle pain, torn rotor cuffs, joint degeneration, and carpal tunnel syndrome.” Rowing, on the other hand, is just great exercise: You all know Family Guy’s Joe Swanson, right? Nasser has redesigned the wheel so that when you pull on the standard rim-handles the wheels still spin forward. This is done by using planetary gears. A “sun-gear” is turned by the rim, which in turn engages a planetary gear which is fixed to the chair’s frame. This gear, finally, turns the wheel hub.

The best part of this invention, designed for the Tech Brief’s Create the Future contest, is that the wheels fit onto any standard chair. And the prototype almost entirely uses standard parts: the “tires, rims, spokes, and bearing where purchased from third-parties,” so the only custom parts of the entire chair are the hubs and gears.

Nasser is himself a wheelchair user, and designed the propulsion system to be both less strenuous for the upper-body as well as more efficient. And his chair looks to do just that, offering all the exercise of manual propulsion with none of the injuries.

Rowheel Wheelchair Propulsion System [Tech Briefs via Engadget]

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